Former officers jailed for sharing inappropriate photos
Two former Metropolitan Police officers have both been jailed for two years and nine months after taking inappropriate photographs at the scene of a double murder in Wembley.
Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Jamie Lewis, 33 – previously both PCs at the North East Basic Command Unit – were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday, 6 December having previously pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office.
Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, Professionalism, said: "Our thoughts are once more with the family and friends of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. I am so sorry that during the most difficult time in their lives the actions of these two officers caused them so much additional pain and distress.
“Today former PCs Jaffer and Lewis have been punished for their actions which were utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive.
“All of us in the Met and wider policing are horrified by their shameful behaviour."
An accelerated misconduct hearing was held for the officers on Wednesday, 24 November.
The hearing was to determine allegations their actions breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct, honesty and integrity, equality and diversity, authority, respect and courtesy, duties and responsibilities, confidentiality and challenging and reporting improper conduct.
The allegations were all found proven. PC Lewis was dismissed without notice and it was determined that former PC Jaffer, who had resigned, would have been dismissed without notice had he still been a serving officer.
Both former officers have been added to the Barred List held by the College of Policing. Those appearing on the list cannot be employed by police, local policing bodies (PCCs), the Independent Office for Police Conduct or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
On 17 June 2020 the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards was informed of allegations anonymously reported that non-official and inappropriate photographs had been taken by police at the crime scene in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, in relation to the murders of Bibaa and Nicole. The sisters were killed in the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020 with their bodies found the following day.
During the early hours of 8 June 2020, PC Jaffer and PC Lewis were placed on the cordon to protect the crime scene. They left their posts to take pictures on their mobile phones of the victims and the crime scene.
PCs Jaffer and Lewis shared images with other officers via WhatsApp. PC Jaffer also shared images with members of the public, including pictures of the victims.
PC Lewis created an image on his phone in which he superimposed his own face in a ‘selfie’ pose in front of the bodies. He shared this image with PC Jaffer.
Both officers belonged to one WhatsApp group called the ‘A Team’ which had 41 officers as members. Images were shared to that group of the crime scene, but not of the victims.
PCs Jaffer and Lewis both used the disrespectful and derogatory term “dead birds” to describe the victims while sharing the images.
Followed the reported allegations, the MPS made a referral to the IOPC, which launched an independent investigation. PC Jaffer and PC Lewis were arrested on Monday, 22 June 2020 by the IOPC on suspicion of misconduct in public office and subsequently released under investigation.
A file was referred by the IOPC to the CPS and both officers were charged on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. They pleaded guilty to the offence on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.
Following their arrest, the officers were suspended from duty. Former PC Jaffer resigned and left the Met on Wednesday, 18 August 2020. Under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020, serving officers are allowed to resign or retire without requiring permission but still face misconduct matters as appropriate.
As soon as this matter came to light, the MPS took action on the North East Command to remind officers of their responsibilities in using WhatsApp and other social media channels. Local senior management spoke to officers on the command to outline what is expected of them in terms of their behaviour as well as encouraging anyone who has a concern about a colleague’s behaviour to come forward. This has subsequently been repeated across the whole Met.
The IOPC investigation made two fast-time learning recommendations to the MPS. The first was to ensure all officers within a single police station in the North East Command conform to the expectations of their behaviour under the Code of Ethics, whilst on and off duty, and are aware that failure to do so could severely damage the public’s confidence in policing.
The second was for the MPS to review whether supervisors and senior management at that police station are taking personal responsibility to identify and eliminate patterns of inappropriate behaviour, whilst simultaneously promoting a safe and open culture which makes clear to officers and staff that they are duty bound to challenge and report behaviour that does not align with the Code of Ethics.
These recommendations, which were received on Monday, 16 November 2020, have been implemented, not just within the single police station but across the entire North East Command.
In addition, across the MPS, all officers have been reminded that the standards they are expected to uphold apply at all times, including when they are off duty and when they are communicating on social media and using messaging apps.
Senior officers will continue work to ensure these recommendations are fully implemented throughout the organisation. This is being overseen by the DPS’s prevention and learning team.
+ We're working hard to raise standards in the Met and have commissioned an independent review by Baroness Louise Casey to examine our culture and standards of behaviour.
The behaviour of Lewis and Jaffer initially came to light because someone had concerns and anonymously reported them. We encourage all our officers and staff, and members of the public, to report wrong-doing and we will act on those reports.